My name is Johnny Hill, founder of the House of Public Discourse and I am a Democratic Socialist. So What? Big Deal!
In the first place, its way past time to rescue the word socialist from the dirty word list. Also, should we not be proud to claim it? One of the greatest presidents in American history was a self-described socialist. Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
In the second place, I am an American. Socialist policies are the American way and our tradition as well. Socialist policies permeate every aspect of American governance. Public Education, Public Roads, and the U.S. Military to name a few. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, we are all in this together or at least we should be in our view. For over thirty years now, Northern European countries have embraced socialism with increasing enthusiasm. While here in America the term has been demonized. Instead of striving for social democracy we have moved back to the age of the Robber Barons. If you work for minimum wage you will probably be on welfare. Social first step programs are under attack.
With this in mind, let’s stop and think for a moment. If the working poor could not get welfare to help with food, housing, medical care, childcare, would they be able to work at all? Probably not. So the employers who hire these type workers are the ones really being subsidized. If these socialist policies were not there they would be forced to pay higher wages. So, what we have seen in the right to work states where social programs have been dismissed is higher rates of illegal immigrants being hired for these low wage jobs.
Republican Policies Led To Illegal Immigration They Bitch About!
47% of Democrats view capitalism positively, down from 56% in 2016
57% of Democrats now view socialism positively, little changed from 2010
Republicans very positive about capitalism; 16% positive on socialism [See Source]
What is important to realize here is that Democratic Socialism is not anti-capitalism. It’s the biggest misconception period. Democratic Socialism entails a massive role for capitalism in our economy. Democratic Socialism does not affect the private sector. All Democratic Socialism advocates are for a robust commons or public sector. It should be vibrant and strong for all Americans.
That everyone should be able to get an education. That everyone should be able to get proper healthcare. That our elderly should be able to live out their lives with dignity. Bottomline these wants are not anti-capitalism.
Democratic Socialism Coexist with Capitalism
There has been an astonishing amount of ignorance surrounding the word. And, it begins with mainstream and corporate pundits. We think this ignorance is by design which confuses things even more. In other words, people feel they must choose between capitalism and socialism. Let’s be clear, we are not talking Marxism here. Democratic Socialism is not Communism.
When Progressives are talking about Democratic Socialism we are not referring to Communism. We get it. Communism and Capitalism are opposites and they do not attract. What we are talking about is what we already have in America but we just do not do it well. We have Social Security but most people can’t retire on it. There are Medicare and Medicaid but it does not cover all your expenses. We provide unemployment benefits but it has been cut down to just six months in most areas of the country.
There are job retraining programs but they have been taken over by the private sector pay for-profit schools which are nothing but a scam. Yes, we have socialism already in America. We provide food stamps based on three-dollars a day. We have social safety nets but they are not managed well and hence are under attack. America just sucks at socialism and it’s an understatement.
Neoliberalism and Subsequent Inequality are the Results
Inequality resulting from Neoliberalism can be solved by raising taxes on the top 1percent. We have done it before and it should be done again. It’s really simple and we know it works. Right now we have CEO’s making over 500 times what their workers are making. It’s the greed factoid. In fact, it is these huge tax cuts to the rich that ruined America. It is time to put a stop to it.